Lefton’s resume details years of educational experience

Kate Bigam

With nearly 34 years of experience on his resume Lester A. Lefton, senior vice president of academic affairs and provost at Tulane University, is expected to be named Kent State’s new president today.

Lefton, who has served as provost of the New Orleans university since 2001, was chosen from a pool of applicants to succeed Carol Cartwright, who announced her retirement in October.

Kent State’s presidential position isn’t the first Lefton has applied for. Last year, Lefton was one of five candidates considered for the position of president of The College of William and Mary in Virginia.

According to The College of William and Mary’s Web site, Lefton said he saw “the work of a college president as divided into about five parts.” He cited raising money as one of the primary goals of a president.

In his presentation to the William and Mary presidential search committee, Lefton also expressed concern for campus diversity and said that as president he not only would reach out to minorities as incoming students, but also strive to provide support for students once they arrive on campus.

According to a resume submitted to The College of William and Mary, Lefton, who has degrees in psychology, is the author of numerous textbooks on the subject.

He graduated from Boston’s Northeastern University in 1969 and later received his Ph.D. from the University of Rochester in New York in 1974.

In 1972, Lefton began teaching psychology at the University of South Carolina, where he later served as chair of the psychology department from 1986 to 1994. In 1994, Lefton became dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, where he oversaw 17 departments and developed grant writing, public relations and alumni initiatives, according to his resume.

Before his move to Tulane, Lefton also served as dean of The Columbian College of Arts and Sciences at Washington, D.C.’s George Washington University. From 1997 to 2001, Lefton oversaw 40 academic departments and nearly 775 full- and part-time faculty members. In his time at George Washington, Lefton cited faculty salary restructuring and budgetary overhauling as his major accomplishments.

In 2001, Lefton was made provost of Tulane, where he acted as chief adviser to the university president, according to his resume. Lefton’s primary responsibilities as provost included overseeing deans and faculty, coordinating and overseeing the university’s academic research programs and overseeing numerous programs including athletics, libraries, housing and dining, according to his biography on Tulane’s Web site.

As provost, Lefton also examined the university’s financial models, established a new College of Human and Urban Ecology and worked to increase funding for graduate education studies.

At Tulane, Lefton was particularly known for establishing the Tulane Interdisciplinary Experiences, a program designed to aid first-year students in their social and scholarly careers by expanding networking opportunities.

According to Lefton’s Tulane biography, he has been a member of the board of directors of the American Association of University Administrators and a fellow of the American Psychological Association. Throughout his time at Tulane, he has continued to teach both graduate and undergraduate psychology courses.

Contact Greek life reporter Kate Bigam at [email protected].